Friday 30 May 2014

The Glass Battle - Riedel vs Zalto - Round One

Vinum, Extreme, Zalto
It had to be done - a celebrity death match over which glass that is the ultimate Pinot glass. I have for years tasted from three different Riedel glasses:
Vinum Pinot Noir
Vinum Extreme Pinot Noir
Sommeliers Burgundy Grand Cru
And while the Sommeliers glass is impressive, my conclusions are that the Vinum usually fits older Pinot (and Nebbiolo) best, while the Extreme glass usually is best suited for younger versions of Pinot (and Nebbiolo).

But I have been reading about a new player in town - the Zalto Burgundy. And people have been saying good things about it too. Up to now I haven´t tried it for myself. But thanks to David I did last night - thanks!

Round One - a New Zealand favourite of mine - Ata Rangi Pinot Noir. Here are tasting notes for the 2009 and for the 2010. But last night Riedel and Zalto battled with the 2011 vintage.

2011 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir - in Riedel Vinum
From the Vinum glass a fine, spicy nose oozes up with notes of ripe raspberries, forest floor, red apple skin, rhubarb and a fine perfumed scent. Very, very good. Elegant.
The taste is young, cool and healthy with notes of raspberries, licorice, balsa wood and forest floor. A long, fresh finish with a fine acidity. This is really good although its not really up there with the previous vintages.

2011 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir - in Riedel Vinum Extreme
My previous conclusions on the best glass didn't fit the bill in this case. The Ata Rangi didn't perform at all well in the Extreme glass. The nose is duller, darker and doesn't have the vigour that is shown in the Vinum glass.
The taste is also heavier, and not in a good way, and it ends dryer. There is not the same Pinot lightness as in the Vinum glass. Still good but without the refinement shown in the previous glass.

2011 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir - in Zalto Burgundy
Lo and behold - the contender sweeps in and defeat the tag team duo from Riedel. The nose is that of the Vinum glass but with a added depth and structure. A very fine sweetness to the fruit. Really good.
The taste is also the best, with added purity, balance and definition, and the raspberries comes out sweeter and riper. Most definitely the winner.
92p   (tasted 2014/05)

Well, well, it seems that I have to get me some more Zalto glasses. The only downside is that I think that the Zalto glass is not as balanced in the hand as the Riedels. It is a bit wobbly when you swirl the glass. And the stem is so thin you are constantly afraid you're gonna break it. :-)

Lets see what Zalto can offer up in Round Two - a mature Burgundy from the best vintage ever...- stay tuned!

For a earlier glass test with a Barolo - check this out.


  1. Very interesting! It sounds like a hoax but wine differentials due to glas variations are clearly real. Looking forward to the next test!

    1. They are sure real - test it yourself! You get to drink more - the more glasses the merrier...:-)

  2. Interesting! Have been using the Riedel Vinum Burgundy and The Zalto dito a lot recently and have to say the decision is tight. Love the feeling the Zaltoglass delivers but have always had a soft spot for the Riedel Vinum, so consistent wether it's PN, Barolo or Chardonnay in the glass. Also like the design of the Riedelglass a bit more, very traditional.
    A bit off topic but when it comes to Barolo I also like the Riedel Vinum Pinot Noir XL very much.

    Great post, looking forward to round two!

    1. Thanks Johan! Yes, it is fun, a never ending trying out period...:-)

  3. Glad you liked it! I knew I could count on you making a proper test :) I love the Zalto glass, its extreme form and the thin neck. But they are a little scary to wash, from now I always use the dishwasher.

    I also looking forward to round two.


    1. Thanks again David! The dishwasher!? The Zalto! Does that really work?
      I´m also looking forward to round two...:-)